Webinars are an incredibly effective marketing channel. However, not everyone has access to the budget needed to hold the next-gen versions of these live, online events that are becoming very popular amongst marketers—even verging on the industry standard.
Why are they so popular? Attendees want action, excitement, engagement, and interactivity. And the latest webinar technology is providing that for audiences. While webinar software comes at many different pricing tiers, there are options for those with limited capital. How to do a webinar for free? We’ll explain how and the ways you can construct your event to make the most of your opportunities.
First, let’s begin with why webinars are a critical part of an organization’s marketing mix.
Why Webinars are Important
73% of marketers and sales leaders find webinars to be one of the most reliable ways of generating quality leads. But there are so many virtual events and webinars today that it’s getting harder to capture audience attention and deliver the same results from webinars.
Marketers can’t maintain the status quo and risk slowing down their webinar lead flow. Webinars typically:
- Have little to no interaction between speakers and attendees
- Have static presentation slides and low production value
- Have little personalization for the individual attendees
- Have little flexibility in how attendees can view and consume content
- Have little follow-up options for attendees, like live Q&A sessions
- Focus on registration and attendance numbers instead of audience engagement
Marketers who will continue to find success need to adapt and reimagine their webinars. That often means finding the right technology that can support the evolution of their webinars and help them break from the status quo. Better content, better production, and better interactivity are what they need. And it doesn’t have to be a budget-buster.
Popular Use Cases for Webinars
Whether you’re planning a marketing webinar for your customers and prospects, or a large internal meeting to keep your employees engaged and motivated, Cvent Webinar will take your webinar to the next level.
Sales and marketing
Host your customers and prospects in an engaging and interactive environment. Encourage your attendees to chat with each other, use emojis, submit questions and upvote their favorites, answer polls, and raise their hands to ask questions. Create webinars that drive business outcomes and provide value to your audience.
Training and professional development
With the right solution, trainees and students will participate more and retain information better. The proper tech will aid you in many ways, including helping you easily review attendance, attendance duration, and engagement reports to evaluate successful course completion.
Employee experience and engagement
Whether you’re planning a company town hall, a department all-hands, or a team-building event, this is a great way to keep your employees excited and motivated with our in-session engagement features. Break down organizational silos with our instant-networking tools to randomly match employees to chat or use our topic-based roundtables to facilitate video discussions.
The Benefits of Free Webinar Software
When the question “how to do a webinar for free” arises, more questions come to mind. To be clear, free webinar software is typically a self-serve option for marketers. This option creates flexibility and the ability to build a webinar program that is nimble and meets all the requirements of audience engagement. Let’s look at a few of these benefits.
The ability to build a webinar in minutes:
- Create and host your webinar with relative ease
- You don’t have to be a developer! The best software means no coding, spreadsheet uploads, or technical skills are required
A high-tech way to showcase your unique brand
- Add the pizazz and make a webinar that looks connected to your brand and distinctly yours with customizable colors and logos etc.
- Instead of manual, monotonous work, look for a solution that offers Integrated registration website templates to help you maximize conversations
An unparalleled way to maximize attendee engagement online
- Your webinars can now be more than just a broadcast to unconnected attendees. Up-level engagement and entertainment for – and from – attendees by using polling, chat, emojis, hand-raising, and Q&A with upvoting to bring engagement to life.
- No more “one-and-done” productions. You can keep the engagement going after the session with on-demand viewing so anyone who didn’t register (or show) will have an opportunity to view on their own time.
A way to build a community
- More than a marketing information presentation, technology means you can help your attendees expand their own networks and make connections with their peers.
- Allow attendees to have serendipitous conversations through instant networking
- Set attendees up with lively, topic-based roundtable discussions
- Provide attendees with the option to connect with other attendees with a 1:1 chat
The ability to measure your results, and act on them!
- No better way to keep a pulse on your webinars than with real-time data
- View and analyze registration, attendance, and attendance-duration reports
- Use these insights to optimize your future webinars to best meet your business needs
How Free Webinar Technology Can Revive Your Program
In addition to automating processes and providing your attendees with a more pleasing overall experience, webinar technology can also solve many of the pitfalls associated with old-school webinar presentations.
- Kickstarting declining lead volume
- Increasing conversion rates
- Adding Speed and efficiency
Once you secure your software solution, the benefits of webinar tech can help you in many different areas. Here’s the impact it can make on your webinar program.
With your free webinar software solution in place, you’ll be able to start thinking about your events through a new strategic lens. You’ll have to create a vision for your webinar program that will first, and foremost, focus on your attendees—and whoever is hosting the webinar needs to think about engagement first. But those are just a few goals you should set before you start creating your webinar.
Job #1: Setting your webinar goals
This is the first, and most important, the rule for holding a successful webinar. Once your expectations are set, you can track the effectiveness of your webinar and set new benchmarks. Because webinars use technology at every stage, there is no end to what you can track, measure, and improve upon. Free webinar technology can help you do that.
When choosing goals, don’t forget to think about your stakeholders. What do they want to see? Do they care how long an attendee watches the webinar, or do they care about how many leads are sent to sales and what the quality of those leads is? Often, your internal stakeholders, from leadership to marketing, to planning, to tech, all care about something different. Articulate stakeholder needs and use them to guide your goals.
The Importance of Your Webinar Content
Even if you have all the bells & whistles in place with the coolest webinar technology, if your content isn’t up to scratch, you’re headed for failure. Ensure you take your time and do things right when it comes to the content of your webinar.
This process will more than likely take the longest—but as they say, the juice will be worth the squeeze. Your content will increase your webinars’ ability to attract and engage audiences and extend their value and longevity (on-demand).
Find the Right Topic
Your webinar topics will depend on your industry and the attendees you wish to attract. But the topical strategy doesn’t end there. Specifically, you’ll need to find out what your customers, prospects, employees, and industry peers want to learn more about. What’s trending? What’s a hot issue that’s leading to a lot of debate? What products, services, or initiatives is your organization trying to push? You have your purpose, now you need to create a webinar topic that will match your purpose—Webinars to educate. A how-to webinar will go over well. Trying to spark discussion in the industry? Start thinking of expert speakers to bring in for a poll.
The right topic can only be chosen when you have an audience in mind. Who is this webinar for? The topic you choose should interest potential attendees and align with a pain point they need to be solved.
What’s in a Format?
Popular webinar formats include:
- One speaker
- Multiple speakers
- Panel discussion with moderator
- Live Polling with moderator
- Interview led by a moderator
As you create your topics for your webinar program, you’ll find that different formats work in different situations. While an internal meeting with an HR manager may work in the single-host format, an industry topic that is garnering a lot of debate may require guest speakers, a moderator, and more.
The Importance of Your Webinar’s Date
Webinar promotion and webinar success are more than just great content. The date matters. When choosing a date and time for your webinar, consider your entire webinar process. How long will it take for you to source speakers(s), create the event and build your marketing campaign, etc?
Here are a few things to consider:
- Back time your webinar date to accommodate the time to pull it all together.
- Plan as many weeks in advance as it will take to build the webinar. Webinars that take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday see higher registration than those on Monday or Friday.
- If your webinar is global, consider finding a time that will comfortably fit into the schedules of your prospective attendees based on their region. This may be too difficult in some cases, therefore multiple sessions may be in order. The rule of thumb, otherwise, is 11:00 am or 1:00-2:00 pm as your start time.
- Most importantly, especially when thinking globally, be aware of holidays or special events. If you decide to plan a webinar on a government holiday, you might find yourself with few registrations and even fewer attendees who actually show up. Accommodate your prospective audiences at convenient times.
9 Takeaway Tips for Webinar Success
Here is a quick list of webinar best practices.
- Keep your sessions to 60 minutes or less
- Avoid Fridays and Mondays by scheduling midweek at 11 am or 2 pm
- Choose a webinar title that is SEO optimized
- Ensure your webinar is branded, internal or external
- Follow presentation best practices
- Vary formats during the presentation
- Engage attendees with quizzes, chat, and surveys
- Break up long sessions into a webinar series if the content demands it
- Provide any guest speakers or moderators with clear instructions and/or tech training
Webinars are a proven way of delivering content to audiences in a convenient way—this goes for internal events to webinars for the sole purpose of lead-gathering. The right technology can help you do a webinar for free, which is a great starting point for those ready to step out from the outdated method of having a faceless speaker deliver a 45-minute monologue over PowerPoint slides.
Ready to see what all the hype is about? Start creating your next-gen webinars today!